Satire: TikTok dilemma in the US

TikTok is now closer than ever to be shut out from the American market, as the Congress yesterday with a strong bipartisan majority passed a bill that will force its Chinese owner ByteDance to divest the US assets of the app or face a ban in the country.

President Joe Biden – whose campaign recently joined TikTok – vowed to sign the legislation to ban the app if it also passes the Senate.

But Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump recently expressed his opposition to ban the app, which Niklas ”@KluddNiklas” Eriksson in his latest cartoon for Kinamedia depicts by a cap saying ”Make the Shire Great Again”.

Trump’s reason for this is to avoid empowering Facebook. As can be seen from the cartoon, money is another reason for some people in the US to resist a ban of TikTok.

But perhaps the strongest argument is addiction – just as was the case with Sauron’s ring in the Lord of the Rings – or the idea that the US will become a place without free speech or internet freedom if TikTok is banned.

In this context, it is however important to point out that the proposed legislation is in itself not a ban of TikTok, but a legislation aiming to prevent foreign adversaries to control apps that can wield large influence over the American society.

The legislation does not single out TikTok per se, and even if the legislation is implemented TikTok will not be banned from the US. It just has to be owned by someone that is not controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, an actor that the American government views as hostile.

Taking into consideration that countless Western apps and medias are banned in China for similar reasons, and of course the fantasy context of the Lord of the Rings, it is easier to understand why the Congress want to prevent Sauron from controlling an app that it can in turn use to control the minds of American citizens.

The above cartoon can be viewed in full size here.

A full collection of KluddNiklas’ works for Kinamedia can be seen via this link.